Mirrored Meaning Two poems of distinct periods and styles can on the surface appear very different, yet close study reveals deep resonance of meaning. John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightengale” and T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” share a core of despair, each showing humanity’a quest to escape its pain. T.S Eliot begins “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” with these words of gloom and desperation: Let us go then, you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherized upon a table;/Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,/The muttering retreats/Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels/...Streets that follow like a tedious argument/Of insidious intent/To lead you to an overwhelming...The end:
..... wonders of the nightingale cannot save Keats, and Eliot sees man as a scavenger: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas” (755). Both Keats and Eliot see the meaning of life through a gloomy mirror. Keats doesn’t know if the bird’s song is only a dream. All he knows is: “Fled is that music” (786). Eliot despairs of hearing mermaids’ singing as he plays, not Hamlet, but “an attendant lord”(756), and goes on measuring his life “with coffee spoons” (754). Each poet reflects on human pain through unique yet similar mirrors. Works Cited Eliot, T.S. “The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock.” Good Poetry and Great. 753-756. Print. Keats, John. “Ode to a Nightengale.” Good Poetry and Great. 785-786. Print.